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School of Computer Science

How to apply

A doctoral research programme is a significant undertaking; it's important you carefully consider and discuss your chosen area of research before submitting your application.

We recommend that you speak to a member of academic staff or our postgraduate admissions team before you apply.

You can start in January or September, and you can apply up to a year before your intended start date.

Further information

More information on the application process for a postgraduate programme can be found below:

Frequently asked questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions that you may find useful.

What is the deadline for applications?

We operate a rolling application system with four entry points for the three-year PhD or one-year MPhil programmes (the four-year CDT programme is only available from Sept entry due to the year one schedule). We do not have application deadlines although please bear in mind that other procedures, such as ATAS and visa applications can take some time so we advise applying as early as you can.

I need an offer. How long will it take?

It can take as long as a month for a complete application to be fully assessed and an offer made. A Doctoral research programme is a big undertaking and the application process is designed to assess whether candidates have the appropriate background, knowledge, temperament and attitude for a PhD. The process will include an interview (usually via phone or skype) and our admissions tutors will need to approve your acceptance before an offer can be made.

How do I apply for University funding?

Please indicate on your application form that you wish to be considered for funding. You will then be considered alongside other funding candidates. Please note that we do not have funding for the MPhil programme.

I would like to study any topic in Computer Science. Can you send my application to all supervisors?

We have a large number of academic staff in the School, all with specific areas of expertise. It is most unlikely that an application will be picked up if there is no indication of the area of interest. A PhD is very high level study and requires not only hard work and commitment but also direction and strong interest in the chosen topic. Please note that candidates for the four-year CDT programme needn't choose a topic at the application stage.

Do I need to meet the English requirement before I apply?

Your application can be considered initially without having met this requirement. We would advise you to at least consider how you would meet the requirement as early as possible, particularly if your application is being made within a few months of your proposed start date. If your application is accepted before meeting English requirement, you will be made a conditional offer and will need to meet the requirement before being admitted.

I have studied a degree in an English-speaking country. Do I need to meet the English requirement?

Not usually. If you meet our entry requirements and have studied in a majority English-speaking country (UK, US, Australia etc), this is usually evidence enough that you meet the required standard. There are exceptions and you will be informed if we need further evidence.

I have studied in English in an overseas institution. Do I need to meet the English requirement?

Yes. The University is not able to vouch for the standard of English used in countries that are not majority English-speaking. Please visit the English language requirements page on the University website for further details.

Application tips

A doctoral research programme is a big undertaking. The application process is designed to assess whether candidates have the appropriate background and knowledge and also the right temperament and attitude for three (or six) years of research.

This advice should help you to provide the relevant information we need.

Choose an area you already have a good knowledge and understanding of

Your research proposal and any subsequent correspondence with one of our academic supervisors will come across as more well-considered if you already have a good understanding of your precise topic.

Choose your preferred academic supervisor carefully

Make sure you choose a staff member whose area of interest and expertise closely matches your research topic; it is not in either party’s interest to accept your application if the supervisor cannot offer a high level of expert support and it is unlikely that your application will be accepted. Doing a little background research will help you with this. Staff profile pages can be found by looking through our research themes. Our admissions staff may be able to offer some assistance with this, however, you will know your topic better than they do!

Ensure all required documents and information is provided

Read our how to apply section for more details. If you don’t already have them, you should request transcripts (including interim transcripts for degrees not yet complete) and written references. Your tutors and student admin support teams will be used to these requests.